04 May 2011

Humility brings honesty

The Eighth Step of CODA states, "Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all."

Some of the things we did, we believed we did out of love. But ironically, our actions earned us disapproval and ultimately the loss of love. Co-dependency taught me that the actions I did, if approved, were met with love.

If approval wasn't accepted, I became bitter because I felt I was being unjustly punished. The punishment was a betrayal of love. The betrayal was "my love" was made public. How I had failed was told to anyone who would listen. I felt shame at my failure and tried everything in my power to regain that trust and love. What that meant was a new round of deceit, lies, and manipulation. Anything to regain that love.

Listing all the people I had harmed due to my co-dependency triggered a defensiveness which was hard to let go. To regain honesty, humility, trust, and yes, love, I had to let go of the secrets and expose my own dysfunctional needs.

As the list grew, my anger rose and my resentments got stronger at the person who I had made a goddess.

This list filled me with shame. How could I have been so naive? How could I have been so easily manipulated?

I'd be lying if I said I forgave this goddess instantly. I still struggle with what happened. The feelings of betrayal ran deep. I had invested so much time and energy into creating my perfect goddess.

But what I thought was good for her future, wasn't what she wanted. And what I learned was that I had no right to create and try and mold her into a goddess. It is her life and her journey. I have no right to tell her (or anyone else) how to live that life. I may not agree with the path she has taken, but it is her choice and more importantly her life.

We live our whole lives living in different relationships. Whether it's a romantic one, a working relationship, or friends, our relationships should work to build each other up and to meet each others needs.

It is important to make the distinction between this kind of relationship and one that is codependent. A codependent relationship is one built on some kind of ulterior motive, mostly it's built on meeting our own selfish needs.

As far as the list goes, don't forget to list your own name. Ask yourself for forgiveness. You're worth it! But even before you list yourself - list your God.

We've come this far and found humility and believe that God has already forgiven us, but I believe, it is important to acknowledge it. To acknowledge that we placed someone above God and it destroyed us. And finally, don't forget to list that person whom you put above God.

This is a hard one, but quite necessary. We performed the ultimate evil by placing someone above God. What did we expect? There was no way that person could live up to our ideals. They weren't gods - they were human beings - just like you and me.

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